- Crime—While Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins have been circumspect over the past few weeks on the Governor’s proposals (judicial discretion or to roll back parts of bail reform depending on your point of view), expect the Legislative One House Budgets to reject the proposal on bail.
- Good Cause Eviction—As of late last week, both Houses were very close to including legislative language that would fundamentally tip the balance from landlords to renters in lease negotiations, called “Good Cause Eviction.” “I think in the state Assembly, Good Cause, along with all the other housing proposals, that the Assembly has put forward, has a real good chance,” said Assembly Housing Committee Chair Linda Rosenthal. Most likely, these will be language signaling support for Good Cause or Good Cause lite.
- Charter Schools—The Executive Budget included a proposal to lift the cap on the number of charter schools in New York City. It has been reported that the Legislature will not include that proposal in their one-house budgets. Nonetheless, both houses are happy, broadly, with Hochul’s full funding of Foundation Aid.
- Mental Health—The Governor’s budget included a $1 billion plan across New York State’s continuum of mental health services. While many legislators were encouraged by the Governor addressing decades of chronic underinvestment, expect potential expansion to those proposals around workforce. “What we know is that our greatest resources are our human resources, and they are the individuals who come in every day to do this work for our loved ones, and right now, they’re simply not paid even close to the value that they bring,” Senate Mental Health Committee Chair Samra Brouk said in response to the Executive Budget Proposal.
- Health & Medicaid—Big questions remain on how both Houses of the Legislature will respond to major proposals on Health and Medicaid.
- Pay & Pursue—A proposal in the Executive Budget to require upfront payment of claims at hospitals by insurers with a retroactive review of medical necessity has faced strong opposition from labor groups across the State. “What this proposal doesn’t take into account is the people who are paying the cost — and that’s us. That’s my members,” said United Federation of Teachers President Mike Mulgrew. It is worth noting the Legislature rejected the proposal when Cuomo first proposed it in 2021. However, it is unclear how much of that was opposition to an embattled Cuomo vs. policy, we will have to wait and see where it lands this week
- Taxes & Revenue—The Governor did not include much in the way of tax increases or revenue raisers, aside from a few targeted proposals, in her Executive Budget. Many progressives in both Assembly and Senate Conferences are pushing hard to include more revenue raisers, including a Billionaire’s Tax. Expect to see these.
- Excluded Workers Fund—In the earliest parts of the Pandemic, the State included a $2 billion Excluded Workers Fund. However, those funds have been spent. There is a standalone bill in the Legislature to create a follow-up, called the Unemployment Bridge Program, sponsored by Senate Labor Chair Jessica Ramos and Assembly Member Karines Reyes, that would allow a $1,200 monthly payment to workers that they say have been left behind by existing unemployment programs, including freelancers and undocumented immigrants. Last Friday, fourteen unions joined a push by clergy leaders to push Legislative Leadership to include the proposal in their One Houses.
- iGaming—There was a push to include Senate Gaming Chair Joe Addabbo’s language legalizing online casino gaming or iGaming—including slots, table games, and live dealer games, but ultimately that died. Expect the conversation to revive before the end of session though.
- Minimum Wage—While the Governor’s proposal included a minimum wage hike. The key question is how much farther will both Houses of the Legislature go in their increases? And, how much faster will their proposed timelines be for the increases?
- Labor—As we discussed at the beginning of February, the Executive Budget was light on Labor provisions and priorities. It remains to be seen what specifically the Legislative One Houses will contain. However, you can expect discussion on just transition for decommissioned energy projects across the State, prevailing wage clarity around future renewable energy projects and labor provisions for other green initiatives like Zero Emissions Vehicle procurements, as well as broader clarity on other prevailing wage for other public works projects across the State.
- “Can you check if my boyfriend is married?”
- “If there is a law limiting how many times you can flush the toilet?”
- “I’d like to report a ghost in my window.”
- “Can I claim my dog as a dependent on my taxes
- I’d like to file a noise complaint against my refrigerator. (2004)
- Can you tell me the steps for boiling a live chicken? (2005)
- A raccoon is eating lasagna on my porch. (2014)
- I’d like to report my neighbor for waving to everyone on the block. (2018)
- A goat is tied to the stairwell in my building. (2016)
It is officially budget and appropriations season in Washington, D.C. as well with President Biden having released his plan for the fiscal year this past week. Here are some of the highlights of the President’s plan:
- Cuts Taxes for Families with Children and American Workers
- The plan would expand the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child for children six years old and above, and to $3,600 per child for children under six. The Budget would also permanently reform the credit to make it fully refundable.
- Lowers Health Care Costs
- The plan would make permanent the average $800 per year premium cuts through expanded premium tax credits that the Inflation Reduction Act extended.
- Reduces Prescription Drug Costs for All Americans
- The Budget includes proposals to curb inflation in prescription drug prices and cap the prices of insulin products at $35 for a monthly prescription.
- Makes Historic Investments in Innovation and Cutting-Edge Research
- The Budget provides almost $21 billion in discretionary spending for CHIPS and Science Act-authorized activities
- Curtailing burdensome regulations by requiring congressional approval under the REINS Act
- Unleashing the production of reliable domestic energy by ending federal regulations and subsidies;
- Restoring Clinton-era work requirements on welfare programs; and
- Passing a pre-emptive Continuing Resolution with non-defense discretionary spending restored to the pre-COVID FY2019 level to force Congress to pass appropriations in a timely manner.
The $9 Million Question: What’s Andrew Cuomo’s Next Move?
As she meets with donors ahead of her 2024 reelection campaign, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has been sounding a surprising warning, according to sources who have heard it. Andrew Cuomo, she tells them, is preparing to run against her. [Read more.]
New to the NYS Legislature
Assembly Member Lester Chang was elected to the New York State Assembly on November 8, 2022 in a major upset of Democrat Peter Abbate, who had been in the Assembly for 36 years. The Southern Brooklyn 49th Assembly District covers parts of Borough Park, Dyker Heights, and Bensonhurst. Despite controversy surrounding his residency that arose after his victory, Assembly Democrats ultimately decided to allow Assembly Member Chang to join the Assembly in January.
Assembly Member Chang, born in America to Chinese immigrant parents who came in pursuit of the American Dream, grew up on Eldridge Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He is the proud product of New York’s public education system and has attended public school through his master’s degree. After graduating high school, he began studying at Brooklyn College to pursue a career in banking and finance. Eventually, he earned his master’s degree in International Transportation from SUNY Maritime College and started a career in logistics.
Assembly Member Chang served in the Navy Reserve and New York Naval Militia. He is a war veteran and served a tour in Afghanistan and has 20 years management experience in global trade and logistics. In March of 2020, Assembly Member Chang volunteered to return to active duty in support of COVID Operation, where he helped convert the Jacob Javits Convention Center into a field hospital that treated more than 1,000 COVID patients. Additionally, he has worked with the Board of Elections as a Poll Site Coordinator for more than 30 years.
Assembly Member Chang is committed to serving New Yorkers as they try to earn a living, raise their families, educate their children, and live in a safe, secure environment. He will support more charter schools, fewer business regulations, compassion for the homeless, and respect the needs of all New Yorkers.
While serving in the Legislature, Assembly Member Chang will fight to reduce rampant crime, fix broken bail and parole laws, support law enforcement, lift the charter school cap, stop mandated curriculum for private schools, and provide meaningful, substantive support services for the homeless, veterans, and incarcerated individuals transitioning back to society.
At UB, a Historic Hiring Push to Bolster Research and Diversity
The University at Buffalo says the new hires are a key part of its efforts to attract top researchers to attain bigger federal grants and boost UB’s standing among top public research universities. More on the new professors here.
Did You Know That St. Patrick is Also the Patron Saint of Nigeria?
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